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Outdoor Action

Leadership Starts Here

Support Team or Command Center Application for Orientation 2020

Thanks you your interest in helping the incoming first-year and transfer students as part of the 2020 Orientation Team. OA Command Center and OA Support Teams play an important role in welcoming incoming students to Princeton and them to our shared values and traditions.

Being part of an OA Support Team or Command Center is a rewarding way to give back to OA and continue to provide this powerful experience to incoming students. In order to ensure a consistent orientation experience for all incoming students, the university now has increased expectations for everyone involved in Orientation, including Support & Command.

All Support Team & Command Center members will be expected to:

Participate Fully:

  • Arrive on Wednesday, 8/19 by 5pm for Command Center OR on Thursday, 8/20 by 5pm for Support Team (depending on position)
  • Participate in all assigned aspects of pre-trip (including gear packing and distribution)
  • Fulfill all outlined responsibilities during the trip, including being on time for shifts (Command Center) and calling into Command Center with regular updates per protocols (Support Team).
  • Participate in all of the required post-trip events: cleaning your van/ the Command Center, assisting with deissue at the Stadium, attending post-trip debriefs, and submitting all receipts in a timely manner.

Act as an Orientation Ambassador:

  • I will support the university's orientation goals and create a positive environment for all incoming students I interact with.
  • I will cultivate an respectful and inclusive environment when interacting with any members of the OA team: Command, Support, Leaders, Frosh, and OA Staff.

Be held accountable in all of my actions:

  • I agree to contribute as an equal member of my team.
  • I will protect the confidentiality of any information I learn in this position during the trip (e.g. medical history) and will not discuss it with ANYONE other than when directly prompted by OA Professional Staff (Rick Curtis & Caroline Stone).
  • I will report any traffic violations or accidents to OA Staff immediately.

Positions for Frosh Trip

The Frosh Trip is a massive logistical enterprise. Ours is the largest program in the country in terms of participants and number of days. This means we need lots of qualified staff: Support Team staff and Command Center Team staff. When you apply to be part of Frosh Trip, are joining part of a great team with all of us working towards one goal, providing the very best entering experience for incoming freshmen.

You can apply for either of the following positions. If you are interested in being part of a Support Team, you should sign up with a friend (and indicate your partner's name on the application form). Because Support Teams spend so much one-on-one time, we rarely pair individuals who have applied seperately.

Support Team Staff

We couldn't operate the Frosh Trip without Support Staff Teams! You and a friend sign up together and spend the whole week as a pair. You'll be stationed near the different trip areas (anywhere from Virginia to Vermont, or as close as northern New Jersey). During the week your team (in an OA mini-van) is our mobile response team to work with the groups on the trail. You will interact with groups on a daily basis providing water drops, resupplying groups with equipment and food, and transporting mild medical evacs (e.g. sprained ankles). It gives you a chance to interact with the groups and meet some incoming students during the trip. You are "on call" throughout the whole trip, and will be linked back to campus with an OA satellite phone or cell phone in order to receive updated instructions. Food, hotel/motel lodging, and all expenses are covered by OA during the week.

In order to drive a Support mini-van you need to have a valid US or Puerto Rico driver's license and complete the University Van Driver Training program. This is a 30-minute web-based instructional course and a 45-minute road test. For complete information about the van driver certification process, go to the Public Safety Web site. For people accepted for Support Positions we will be working with Public Safety to offer the various Van Driver Training components over the summer.

Command Center Staff

Command Center Staff are an essential resource for making the Frosh Trip run smoothly. Command Center is group of students that stay on campus during the trip and help manage all of the real-time logistics changes that are occurring while the trips are in the field: water drop locations are changed, students become sick and need to be evacuated, and equipment needs to be resupplied. The Command Center is constantly in communication with the Leaders and Support Teams to understand where everyone is. Command helps make decisions about where to send our resources and what the logistics of a rendezvous should look like. Command Center members are assigned specific shifts throughout the day, but are always "on call" in case something big arises. Before and after the trip, Command Center Staff supervise frosh arrival and departure, equipment and food distribution and check in at the end of the trip. You will be staying in your room on campus. OA provides food for all meals.


The Support & Command application now includes two essay questions about the Orientation aspect of Frosh Trip in order for us to assess your commitment to the university's orientation goals. We are also asking all members to agree to the list of expectations above.

  • Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 16
  • Interviews to be scheduled in late April early May: (only for new applicants)
  • Notification: Friday, May 3

If you have been selected for an interview, you will be notified in April. We will then schedule 20 minute interviews April 1 - April 20. If you have served in a Support Team or Command Center position before, then you will NOT need to interview again.

Frosh Trip Dates 2020 - Tentative

  • Wednesday (8/19), 5:00 PM: Command Center Check-in (Dillon)
  • Thursday (8/20), 5:00 PM: Support Team Check-in (Dillon)
  • Thursday - Sunday (8/20-8/23): Briefings, Training, and final gear preparation & distribution for Support & Command
  • Sunday (8/23), 6:30 PM: Frosh OA Check-in
  • Monday - Friday (8/24-8/27): Frosh Trip

I am ready to apply! - Application is now online

Here are the Essay Questions that are part of the application. We recommend that you write them all first and then cut and paste them into your application.

  • What should the goals of the OA portion of Orientation be? (200 - 300 words)
  • Why do you think you will be a good addition to the OA Orientation Team? (200 - 300 words)
  • Why are you interested in being a Command Center or Support Team member? (up to 4000 characters)
  • Being either a Command Center or Support Team member requires that you be part of a team working closely together. Describe your experiences in working as part of a team. (up to 4000 characters)
  • Describe your organizational skills for handling multiple tasks simultaneously. (up to 4000 characters)
  • Command Center and Support Team members often have to juggle multiple tasks all having different needs and priorities. How would you characterize your style in dealing with demanding or stressful situations? (up to 4000 characters)
  • Both Command Center and Support Team members must be able to read maps accurately, determine directions for locating groups, and be able to give accurate directions. How do you do handling maps and navigation? (up to 4000 characters)
  • Command and Support Team members have to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to coordinate our responses to incidents in the field. Describe your communications skills. (up to 3000 characters)

Interviews for new Support Teams and Command Center will be held after Spring Break. We will contact you about scheduling an interview.

This is first year student's story about their experience with a Support Team and the OA Command Center

Like many other Princeton freshman, I attended Outdoor Action the week before classes started and had great fun, much more than I originally expected. Although I knew the trip would probably be enjoyable, I had no idea how much I would bond with my leaders and other campers. My group hiked in mud and water, played various games to stay warm, and drank heavily iodized water, but unlike most other groups, we became literally rained out. Although the experience of sleeping in a small pond wasn’t very enjoyable, it did afford me the opportunity of really seeing how everyone in Outdoor Action, including our leaders, support team, and Command Center back on the Princeton campus, worked together to provide a fun, enjoyable experience for everyone.

Watching my leaders dial their satellite phones to phone for help, and then listening to their explanations of what would be happening next after the phone call indicated the extent of how planned out the Frosh Trip was. Although we waited a few solid hours for Support to arrive due to the massive number of calls they were receiving that day, once they came, the situation seemed to become more manageable and not quite as hopeless. Perhaps that was due in large part because we knew of the resources Support had on hand to offer to us (some form of flushing toilet, a chance at a shower, etc.), but I feel that a major part also included the positive and cheerful attitude they constantly exhibited towards us. Although we all apologized for the large amount of mud and heavy stench we brought with us into the Support minivan, they waved our apologies aside, explaining that this was their job and they didn’t mind anyway. At that time and still even now, I could not express my gratitude towards them for such their simple action of personally (not just because their job mandated them to do so) accepting us despite the fact that we were basically strangers and very dirty. Their acceptance made me appreciate my whole situation even more.

The next day, after dropping us off at a laundromat to thoroughly dry our sleeping bags, Support drove off to collect a girl suffering from hypothermia from another OA group. Although the time we spent with the girl was short, the entire time we were with her, Support made sure that she stayed warm and had everything she needed to ensure her comfort. Seeing how much effort the Support team put into making sure that as many freshmen possible were having a good Frosh Trip despite all ill factors strongly and positively influenced me. It not only showed me how strong and tight knit close the Princeton community, or at least the Princeton OA community, but also how much effort and care our Support willingly put into their jobs just to make sure some six hundred freshman would have a good time. Seeing all of this and actually interacting with Support for a whole day made me realize how much I would like to be on Support, and also interact with freshman to make sure they have a positive experience prior to the start of school.

Starting college is just like starting a new school, and as much as students shout with joy that they’re leaving home and their parents, they still carry some fears and worries about their new situation. I had numerous qualms about Princeton and although I still do, attending OA allayed many of those fears. During OA, much of what Support did seemed to be behind the scenes for other groups, dropping off fresh water and special treats to revitalize weary campers. After all, our trip was an exception. But all of it heavily impacted me nonetheless because I realized how important simply having Support is. The various drop offs of essentials and nonessentials really up the morale of groups, and then actually meeting Support who are friendly and caring even further up the entire group spirit. I very much want to be one of those people who help cheer up OA groups and encourage the freshmen to simply have a good time. Having had the rare opportunity to go on a very enjoyable OA frosh trip, I want to help others have that opportunity as well, by providing as much as I can through being not just a Support team member but also a fellow Princetonian and human being. I realize that not everyone will necessarily completely enjoy their OA trip, but I’d like to make sure that as many future freshman as possible will have a good time, and simply appreciate being a part of the Princeton community before even officially setting foot on campus.